The “lilies of the field” of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount are more likely the wild flowers of his day –scarlet crowfoot, purple iris, orange-red poppies, blue lupine, yellow wild mustard, and others. What distinguishes a wild flower from a weed?
A Flower In Disguise
I remember a poster I used to have on my wall … “A weed is only a flower in disguise.”
It reminded me of my yard in Alaska, which was mostly weeds, intertwined by a profusion of strawberry vines and a few varieties of wild flowers that took turns blooming. Sometimes it took the form of an overcrowded mess that needed tending. But I couldn’t help thinking that every plant I “weeded out” could have been a flower in some other context or at least an interesting part of a floral arrangement. It might even have been edible or a source of medicinal healing.
How we see something sometimes makes all the difference.
Some little children think dandelions are pretty flowers, and pick their yards clean for bouquets for mothers and favorite aunts. I used to get a nickel a hundred for them from my dad, but grew up learning they were something we needed to get rid of. Although they announced Spring in Wisconsin, we fought those bright yellow blossoms for control of the lawn.
Back in Illinois, I felt compelled to mow my big yard full of grass and bushes at least once per week. Some people spent all weekend mowing. So I was happy with my Alaska lawn full of weeds and strawberries and wild flowers!
In a way, both flowers and weeds are like people. Each has a special beauty and purpose that can be cultivated. And how we see them might make all the difference.
Webster’s definition of a weed is “any undesired, uncultivated plant that grows in profusion so as to crowd out a desired crop.” So if I desire a so-called weed or cultivate it, might it become a flower?
Maybe with the right kind of love and nurturing, we can all be flowers.